Monday, January 23, 2012

Castle of Shadows Map

The Castle of Shadows is due out this spring from Houghton Mifflin.  Here is a sneak preview of the map I did for this charming story by Ellen Renner, which I can  best describe as a cross between a Hitchcockian political thriller and The Secret Garden.
The type placement is mine, and only an approximation.  The final design will be cleaner.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Air

This piece was commissioned by a lover of Christian Morgenstern's Gallows Songs.  The poem, translated from German:

The Air

The air was once close to dying.

"Help me, my heavenly father"
she exclaimed with a very dull look.
"I am stupid, I'm fat;
You know everything else for the Council--
send me on trips, in a bath
and sour milk is recommended;
if not-- let me get the devil!"

The gentleman, fearing humiliation in front, 
invented for them- Tonmassage.

It is since then the world screams.
And the air grows splendid.

My challenge was to illustrate air.  Bubbles came to mind quickly, but a broader image left me stumped.  The bright fellow who commissioned the piece plays world class tuba and when another friend happened to mention that the B flat played for alligators on a tuba sounds precisely like their mating call, I decided to investigate further.  The male alligators respond to the tuba by reciprocating the same guttural noise, laying low in the water.  The vibrations off of their back create this amazing ripple and bubble effect on the bog surface.

With tonal massage, milk and birth all calling for representation, this is the image I cooked up.